1. DisFanJen
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    DisFanJen Member

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    Writing outside your comfort zone

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DisFanJen, Nov 20, 2010.

    So, as a writing exercise, I decided to write a children's short story about a rabbit in the style of Whinnie the Pooh\Peter rabbit and the like.

    Now this is way outside my comfort zone as all of my stories thus far have been either SciFi or Fantasy based, with a quick jump into a spy story but based in a place I know so well.

    This got me thinking about the old adage 'write what you know' and how relevant that really is.

    So, my question for debate is this:

    What are the pros and cons of writing outside your comfort zone?
     
  2. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a writing exercise, it is good to try and write in a genre outside your comfort zone.
    Whether that writing is fit for publication or not, only the finished article can tell.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Writing outside your comfort zone may reveal competencies you didn't know you possessed. What have you to lose but time?

    Conversely, your comfort zone is not necessarily where your greatest strength lies. Your comfort zone may be writing trashy romance tales (no, I am not saying all romance stories are trashy), but you may have an untapped potential for writing gritty, character driven action stories.

    Exploring outside your comfort zone may even improve your "comfortable" writing.
     
  4. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing outside your comfort zone is a worthwhile practice. If it doesn't work out, all you lost is a little bit of time.

    However, I am always a fan of branching out your comfort zone in increments so you get used to new things gradually and they can be weaved into your comfort zone rather than just abruptly plopped in your lap. But that's me. Waking up and deciding to try something new in writing is commendable, and it may just work out.

    I think the best way to get yourself motivated to write outside your comfort zone is to put yourself in a situation where it's required, such as a contest or something. IMO, that motivation will give you some incentive to try new things that you otherwise wouldn't have.
     
  5. DisFanJen
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    DisFanJen Member

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    Well I finished my short story so I thought I'd give you my perspective on this one.

    It was hard, a lot harder than I thought. the style of writing for a child feels, at least to me, much different to an adult or even young adult. So the upshot was that each sentence had to almost be forced out of me, compared to fantasy and SciFi that flows almost effortlessly.

    But after saying that I think it was a good thing, not that the work is any great shakes mind you, it's probably a pile of dross. But doing it made me think about my writing in a way that I don't when writing in my comfort zone, and thinking about the words I put on the page has to be a good thing.

    I think I might put it onto the review forum at some point just to see how far off of the mark I was. Then maybe give it another try.

    I'll have to do some reviews in that section first though! :)
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I very rarely write within my comfort zone - I do tend to stick to historical or fantasy but I include issues that stretch my ability. Also fantasy wasn't my comfort zone when I started lol

    With my first just being a seventeen year old boy was enough lol - I needed to improve fight scenes (still not something I find easy to write).

    Currently I am in the head of a hundred and thirty year old gay man lol
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't have a 'comfort' zone, having written in just about any genre and medium you can name... so i can't give personal knowledge advice here, but what cog and others say about stretching your boundaries makes good sense...
     

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